Śivarāma SwamiSRS Book Club Newsletter
Recently my dear friend and godbrother Ādi-kartā prabhu was visiting Hungary, and during a conversation he encouraged me to put Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Lalita-Mādhava and Vidagdha-Mādhava into book form. I was quite surprised at Ādi’s proposal as I had thought of doing the same a decade ago, and it has been in my mind ever since. Was this a sign from Kṛṣṇa?
In my literary efforts before becoming a devotee, I had written plays inspired by the likes of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner. There were two or three cardboard boxes full of my beginner’s literary manuscripts in our family home, which I asked my mother to throw out when she moved to Toronto. But I was also aware that only a select few read plays. It’s a different undertaking than reading novels, for example. So when I first read Lalita-Mādhava and Vidagdha-Mādhava, I lamented that the treasure of these plays would probably reach a limited devotee audience at best. But, I thought, if I put these plays into a regular novel form, devotees would be much more inclined to read them and benefit from Rūpa Gosvāmī’s marvellous exposition of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.
To exemplify how these classic plays are often neglected, Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka of Kavi-karṇapūra has, in almost 500 years, never been performed. And how many of my readers here have read it?
So Ādi-kartā prabhu’s spontaneous proposal was certainly a confirmation of my long-held conviction, and that conviction has now become stronger. However, I don’t see myself undertaking such a project any time soon. Were I writing at my regular part-time pace, which I am far from at present, the project would take the best part of two years. It’s not that the volume of work is so great, it’s the nuanced language with its multiple meanings, as well as the fine aesthetics of mellows expressed, that require careful study and fine discretion to properly represent. Time!
Anyway, right now I have a backlog of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana books to write after completing the current projects, Sādhana-sāra-dīpikā and Compendium Volume 2. Perhaps after I complete the Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana adaptation of Chapter 20 (of the 10th Canto) I can consider this proposal. In the meantime, in my spare time, I shall continue to read these two plays, especially Lalita-Mādhava. They so much nourish my devotional sentiments and creatively inspire me in my writings. I invite all devotees to do the same!